LIGHTNING (40-24-9) at SABRES (20-45-8)
TV: SUN, MSG-B
Last 10: Tampa Bay 6-0-4; Buffalo 1-9-0
Season series: This is the fourth game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Buffalo Sabres. The Lightning won the first two by identical 3-2 scores, with the Sabres winning the most recent, 3-1 March 6.
Big story: Having not yet having clinched a Stanley Cup Playoff berth, the Lightning are hoping to improve a run of points in 10 straight games to solidify their positioning. If Tampa Bay, in third place in the Atlantic Division, can move up a spot, that would mean home-ice advantage in the first round.
Lightning: A 3-2, 13-round shootout win against the New York Islanders on Thursday gave Tampa Bay two points, but coach Jon Cooper wasn't satisfied with the effort.
"We've got to be better than we were [Thursday] night going into Buffalo because they have obviously shown they haven't mailed in the season," Cooper said after the win. "[The Sabres] are battling their butts off. They beat us a few weeks ago, so we have to be better than we were [Thursday] or it's going to be tough in Buffalo."
Tampa Bay has picked up points in each of its past three road games. After Saturday, the Lightning will play two of their final eight regular-season games away from home.
Sabres: Buffalo has lost 10 of its past 11 games, including their past three at First Niagara Center. Goals have been hard to come by with 12 in those 11 games, including three times being shut out. The Sabres will get forward Zemgus Girgensons back in the lineup after he missed the past 11 games with an undisclosed injury, and coach Ted Nolan said he hopes that will help offensively.
"The one thing we've been experimenting with is Cody Hodgson going on the wing, so we might put Cody on an off wing with Girgensons, and if you look at last time when he was in, the people who played with him had benefited from him," Nolan said after practice Friday. "So maybe this can get Cody some pucks and some chances."
Hodgson has 16 goals this season but hasn't scored since March 6.
Who's hot: Lightning forward Valtteri Filppula has a 10-game point streak (four goals, 10 assists). Forward Ryan Callahan has three goals in his past four games. … Buffalo has scored three goals in three games, and forward Brian Flynn has two assists.
Injury report: Lightning defenseman Mattias Ohlund (knee) and Brian Lee (knee) are on injured reserve. … Sabres forwards Chris Stewart (ankle), Torrey Mitchell (lower body), Zenon Konopka (back) and Ville Leino (upper body), defensemen Alexander Sulzer (upper body) and Tyler Myers (upper body) and goalies Michal Neuvirth (lower body) and Jhonas Enroth (leg) are out.
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